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Volume 15/Issue 17

LAGPAC Involved in New Nationwide Federation

Representatives from g/l/b/t organizations in thirty-nine states met July 11-13 outside of Knoxville, TN to adopt and ratify the structure for a proposed national federation of state-wide groups that work on legislation in their respective state capitals. Representatives from twenty states had met informally during November, 1996's "Creating Change" conference, sponsored by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. A transition team was formed to investigate the possibility and structure of such a federation.

Christopher Daigle, LAGPAC co-chair, served on the eight-member team and was active in designing the proposed federation structure. The group recognized that the growing trend to shift power from the federal government, means that an ever-increasing number of bills that affect the g/l/b/t community are being introduced at the state, rather than the national level.

Consequently, support and resources for statewide groups is becoming more crucial and critical for the national movement.

Daigle was invited to co-facilitate a day-long session dealing with legislative and electoral strategies, along with Rebecca Isaacs, National Policy Director for NGLTF. A significant portion of the strategy session employed Louisiana's recent legislative successes as a case study to explore the various components needed to launch productive legislative campaigns.

If formally adopted at this year's "Creating Change" conference, to be held in San Diego in November, the federation would be available primarily as a resource to member organizations. It would serve as a "clearinghouse" for shared strategies, templates of legislation, public education models, etc. Each of the statewide groups would maintain their individual autonomy, however, in that each would have the ability to customize bills, campaigns, etc. to conform to each state's unique social and political demographics. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has agreed to support the project by providing a 20-hour per week staff person.

LCID Defeats Anti-Gay Marriage Bill

New Orleans-based organizations took the lead in forming the Louisiana Coalition for Individual Dignity (LCID) to fight the attempt to add an anti-same-sex marriage clause to the state constitution during the 1997 legislative session. LAGPAC, LEGAL, Forum for Equality, and Log Cabin Republicans worked together to form the unprecedented coalition, and members of the four organizations served as the steering committee throughout the session.

The defeat of this bill was a major and unexpected loss for the Christian Coalition, and foreshadowed the passage of the Hate Crimes bill later in the session.

Southern Decadence Panel Discussion

Marking the historic occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the Southern Decadence Parade, an equally historic event will occur when members present a public discussion of the founding and early years of the spectacle. Featured on the panel will be Frederick Wright, the first Southern Decadence Grand Marshal, who will be joined by other Grand Marshals from the early years such as Robert Laurent, Robert King, and Kathleen Kavanaugh.

The panel discussion will be held Sat., Aug. 30, 2pm in the ballroom of the Bourbon Orleans Hotel, Bourbon & Orleans Sts. There is no admission charge and the public is invited to attend. The historic panel will be filmed as a part of the continuing oral history series on gay history and culture being recorded by the Bienville Center for Conservancy, a research and preservation program of the Bienville Foundation. Call 504.945.6789 for more information.

Meet "Buddy," Art Against AIDS 1997 Signature Bear

Plans have begun for NO/AIDS Task Force's holiday fundraising gala, Art Against AIDS. In its 11th year and under the guidance of co-chairs Jim Lestelle and Don Lemoine, Art Against AIDS gala will be held December 5 at New Orleans Centre. Loaning her artistic expertise as art chair will be Leslie Newman of Earth and Fire Gallery.

Each year, Art Against AIDS "unveils" a signature, limited-edition stuffed bear. This year's bear, "Buddy," was named for NO/AIDS' Buddy Program, which provides one-on-one companionship, emotional support and non-medical assistance to people with AIDS. Buddies become more than friends; they are a lifeline to other equally important services, such as benefits assistance, Food For Friends, case management, and mental health.

If you are interested in participating in this year's Art Against AIDS or purchasing your own Buddy, contact the Development Department at 504.945.4000.

Pretty Baby World Premiere At Le Petit

Rehearsals began Monday, August 4th at Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre' on the world premiere musicalization of the 1978 Louis Malle film Pretty Baby, which was filmed on location in New Orleans and starred Susan Sarandon, Brooke Shields and Keith Carradine. This ambitious musical production, which has already enjoyed a New York workshop staging, is co-authored by Hugh McElyea (composer/lyricist) and Anne Rose (book). It will open historic Le Petit Theatre's 81st season on September 13th for a four week run. Produced by The Little Easy Company, in cooperation with Le Petit, the production combines both New York, local and international talent.

Acclaimed British director John Pascoe, whose recent credits include Anna Bolena with the San Francisco Opera Company and Rigoletto with the Bath & Wessex Opera, is responsible for mounting this full staging of the two-act musical, while serving as its production designer as well. Local performer/choreographer, Ben Bagby, a recent "Big Easy Award" winner for his work on Sophisticated Ladies will stage the show's musical numbers. Joel A. Martin, whose performing credits include both the New York Philharmonic and the Baltimore Symphony, has arranged the score and will serve as the production's musical director.

David Engel headlines the cast in the key role of Bellocq, the turn-of-the-century photographer whose evocative portraits of the "ladies" of the Crescent City's notorious red-light district, Storyville, became both the impetus and source material for the film and current musical. Rachelle Fleming portrays Hattie, one of the more determined working women of Madam Nell's "house" and mother to fourteen year old virgin Violet, portrayed by Alissa Dean.

Mr. Engel, who returns to New Orleans after a seventeen year hiatus, counts among his credits the original New York productions of Forever Plaid (in the role of Smudge) and La Cage aux Folles (Hanna). He has appeared in numerous regional/national tours, West End productions and television and film roles. Ms. Fleming, in addition to the workshop production of Pretty Baby, lists among her other New York credits Eva Peron in Evita, Desiree Armfeldt in A Little Night Music, Nellie Forbush in South Pacific and Anna in The Jeweler's Shop at the Kennedy Center. Alissa Dean also appeared in the original showcase production of Pretty Baby as well as regional New York print, television (One Life to Live) and theatre work, including Into the Woods, The King & I and Cinderella

. On the local front, Elliott Keener (the Mayor of Storyville), Francine Segal (Frieda), Kuumba Williams (Ola Mae), Larry McDonald (The Professor) and Rita Lovett (Madame Nell) are but a few of the longtime theatre and film veterans who round out the cast of 24 performers bringing to life this colorful and highly theatrical part of New Orleans history.

All seats for Pretty Baby are $20. Reservations and ticket information for this show, as well as the remainder of Le Petit's season, may be obtained by calling 504.522.2081, or by visiting the Le Petit box office at 616 St. Peter Street. Box office hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10am until 5pm.

Southern Folk Art Show Benefits Louisiana Special Olympics

A one-man art show benefiting Louisiana Special Olympics will be on display at The Marceline Bonorden Gallery of Fine Art located in the New Orleans Centre on Fri., Sept. 19, from 7-10pm. Local artist Todd Williams is donating 100 percent of the proceeds from the show to LSO.

Williams, a native New Orleanian, is a nationally recognized folk artist who is currently represented in seven New Orleans galleries. The Historic New Orleans Collection has selected his work for its permanent reserve and he is also on file at the Museum of American Folk Art in New York. Shows featuring his work have been held from Atlanta to Los Angeles.

A self-taught artist, Williams' first piece was "inspired by a dream," and from that vision came his acclaimed folk art series. Williams is the only folk artist in residence at The Marceline Bonorden Gallery of Fine Art.

"Louisiana Special Olympics is very proud and appreciative of this gift by Mr. Williams," said Jeff Hawkins, LSO director of marketing and development. It is through contributions such as these that Louisiana Special Olympics is able to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with mental disabilities. For more information, contact The Marceline Bonorden Gallery of Fine Art at 504.587.7900.

Victorian Art Glass At NOMA

A "born instinct" drove Louisianan John Lolley to begin collecting as a child. Now, the fruits of one of his loves will be featured in the exhibition LA BELLE EPOQUE--Art Glass from the Collection of John W. Lolley, circa 1880-1920, August 29 through November 1, 1997, at the New Orleans Museum of Art.

Lolley began collecting coins as a child, and later interests were hollow ware and Brilliant cut glass before curiosity led him to art glass in 1974. He soon found that his tastes were aligned with the art glass styles of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and began focusing his collection in that direction.

Although initially drawn to the works of such prominent English firms as Thomas Webb and Sons and Stevens and Williams, Lolley's advancing scholarship convinced him that American manufacturers of art glass deserved serious attention. He began to place emphasis on the wares of the Mt. Washington Glass Co., the premier U.S. firm, and was a founding member of the Mt. Washington Art Glass Society in 1991. But despite the collector's fondness for English and Mt. Washington glass, the Lolley Collection is widely varied and includes examples by such American houses as the New England Glass Co., Hobbs-Brockunier and the Boston and Sandwich Glass Co as well as such slightly later manufacturers as the Tiffany Studios, the Quezal" Glass and Decorating Co., the designs of Frederick Carder for the Steuben Glass Works and the Honesdale Decorating Co. Middle European manufacturers are represented by Ahne, Harrach, Kralik, Loetz, Pallme-Konig, Riedel and Rindskop. For historical perspective, the Art Nouveau designs by Belgian and French makers Val St. Lambert, Baccarat, Daum de Vez, Galle and more were added.

Featured in LA BELLE EPOQUE is New England Glass Co.'s Amberina, patented in 1883 by Joseph Locke. It is the best-selling art glass of all time. Other highlights are all seven types of American Peachblow (very few collections include all seven); and Mt. Washington's Burmese, first presented to Queen Victoria in 1885 and an instant success, plus superb English and French Art Nouveau cameo glass.

"It is, overall, a comprehensive survey of the 40-year first phase of art glass production in Europe and the United States, with the major producers represented by first-quality examples," said John W. Keefe, NOMA's Curator of Decorative Arts. "This is a collection built with a discerning eye."

One hundred thirty-five pieces of the Lolley Collection will be on display in the Cameo Gallery of The Lupin Foundation Center for the Decorative Arts, on the Museum's second floor. It is accompanied by a color catalogue, available in the Museum Shop. After New Orleans, the exhibition will be shown in December and January at the Masur Museum of Art in Monroe, Louisiana.

Feast At The Veranda

Experience exquisite dining in the Hotel Inter-Continental Veranda restaurant where master chef, Willie Coln, uses only the freshest of ingredients to prepare such delicacies as potato crusted redfish and pan seared filet mignon. Using ingredients from a garden of herbs and spices on the roof of the hotel, Coln prepares the original and award winning dishes that have earned the Veranda its Four star status.

The Veranda is not only known for its exceptional dining, but also for its legendary service and charming ambiance. Sunday champagne jazz brunch in the Veranda offers patrons an enchanting morning with a superior buffet selection as well as live jazz music.

The Veranda is open Monday - Saturday from 6:30am until 11am for breakfast (Sunday breakfast buffet from 7 -11am in Les Continents), 11am - 2pm for lunch and 5:30 - 10pm for dinner. The Sunday champagne jazz brunch is served from 11:00 - 2:30pm. Free valet parking is available and reservations are suggested (call 504.585.4384). The Veranda is located on the second floor of Hotel Inter-Continental at 444 St. Charles Ave.

Baldwin Runs For Congress

Wisconsin State Representative Tammy Baldwin (D) will be seeking the seat of retiring four-term Congressman Steve Klug (R) in 1998. Baldwin, endorsed by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, served four terms as county supervisor and is in the middle of her third term in the Wisconsin State Assembly. If elected, Baldwin will be the first out lesbian in the United States Congress. Baldwin has already amassed a war chest of over $100,000 and has high name recognition due to her long political career. For more information, contact Kathleen DeBold of the Victory Fund [a GLBT pac] at 202.842.8679. [from GLAAD]

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